CTAM staged a useful session on relationship marketing for ethnic minorities, with Cablevision vp Valerie Green sounding upbeat about the change in her MSO’s "upper management" as to the importance of niche marketing. While her unit for multicultural marketing is relatively small, "I’m getting bigger budgets, and my department is growing in numbers," she said. Gospel Music Channel’s Angela Cannon emphasized that partnering with operators, local talent and religious institutions helped her channel present relevant marketing pitches on a relatively small budget. The session’s strongest point was basic, but necessary: merely translating general marketing spots for ethnics groups won’t work. Putting African Americans into a general marketing spot without including insights or material relevant to African Americans is pointless, said TV One’s George Lima. Speaking of relevance, HBO’s Adrion Porter noted that African Americans don’t respond only to African American-based shows. "Entourage" is a show about "4 white guys in Hollywood that African Americans watch," he said. That’s why HBO promotes the series during Black History Month, along with those starring African Americans. The panelists also underlined that marketing to ethnic minorities as a block is not effective. There are major differences within ethnic communities. Some Hispanics prefer advertising in Spanish, others want it in English, Green said. Unfortunately, few cable marketers have the budgets to segment their ethnic marketing efforts, the panel agreed. — The blogosphere can be chaotic, but cable industry marketers must participate in order to get a fair shake from increasingly influential bloggers, said Eric Schwartzman, managing director of Schwartzman & Assoc. "As marketers, we can’t just talk," he said. "We have to listen… You have to be a member of that community." One mistake execs make is trying to spin bloggers, who can be brutal when they believe someone isn’t being genuine. "You have to be transparent and authentic, or you’re going to get caught," he said. And how to convince C-level execs that tracking blogs is an important part of PR/marketing? Schwartzman suggests showing them an Internet search with the company’s name and "sucks" after it to see how many bloggers are trashing the company. "Why wouldn’t you deal with it… unless denial is a business strategy?" he said. — GalleryPlayer introduced its new broadband service for cable partners at CTAM. In addition to viewing GalleryPlayer’s HD programming on digital cable, viewers can directly purchase and download images to their PCs from their cable homepage. The cable partner will brand the service, which will be operated and maintained by GalleryPlayer. — Coolest tchotchkey goes to Disney and ESPN Media Networks’ chilled bottled water for those of us making the trek to the DC Convention Center from the Hyatt and beyond.

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